COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

ARB Sign Guidelines Update

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Work session on draft revisions to the ARB sign guidelines

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Foley, Kamptner, Cilimberg, Maliszewski

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

September 1, 2004

 

ACTION:                          INFORMATION:      X

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:                         INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:       Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

Entrance Corridor regulations were adopted in 1990. The original design guidelines, adopted shortly thereafter, are divided into two main sections: General Guidelines and Specific Guidelines. The ARB has used both sections of the Guidelines in their review of sign proposals. The original Specific Guidelines included five items related to signs. (See Attachment A.) The ARB further refined its application of the specific guidelines in 1998 by clarifying the appropriate use of colors and illumination in signs. (See attachment B.) In 2003, the ARB began work on updating the specific sign guidelines again. Early drafts of the revisions were reviewed by the Zoning and County Attorney’s offices, and public comment was received on June 9, 2003. (See Attachment C.) Additional text revisions were made by the ARB over the next several months and staff made revisions to illustrations in April, 2004.  An additional public comment letter was received on July 23, 2004.  (See Attachment C.)  The Zoning and County Attorney’s offices reviewed the April draft and final revisions made in July were reviewed by the ARB on August 16, 2004. (See Attachment D.)

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Strategic Direction 2: Protect the County’s natural, scenic and historic resources.

 

DISCUSSION:

The proposed revised guidelines are intended to:

  1. Explain why limitations are placed on sign design in the Entrance Corridors
  2. Indicate the policies the ARB consistently applies in its decision making
  3. Make available more substantial written guidelines to clarify expectations regarding sign design

 

For comparison, the following table outlines issues addressed in the 1998 sign guidelines and the pages of the 2004 guidelines that provide updated information on the same issues.

 

Issue in 1998 Guidelines

Reference in Proposed Revised Guidelines

Primary Change/Addition

Materials (#1)

Page 4, #3; page 20, #2

·         Add “building complex” to guideline regarding use of complementary materials

·         Add preference regarding materials of sign base

Illumination (#2, 3)

Pages 6-7

·         Add philosophy on illumination of signs

·         Indicate preference for external illumination

·         Add “internal illumination will be limited”

·         Add “no exposed neon”

Monument signs (#4, 5)

Page 20-21

·         No change

 

Monument signs (#10)

Page 20-21

·         Add reason for preference for monument rather than pole-mounted signs (because they can be more fully integrated into the overall development)

Color (#6–9)

Page 5, #5, pages 10-11

·         Indicate that color compatibility applies to both day and night appearance, and to both internal and external illumination

·         Add “raceways shall match wall color”

·         Delete reference to specific color names/numbers for “jarring” combinations

Trademarks (#11)

Page 5, #6

·         Indicate that logos, graphics, and trademarks are subject to review; such elements may require modification; such elements, when used, must be incorporated as integral part of sign

Illuminated Cabinet Signs (#1-3 under “Policy for Illuminated Cabinet Signs)

Pages 6-7, 21

·         Add philosophy on illumination of signs

·         Indicate preference for external illumination

·         Add “internal illumination will be limited”

·         Add limitation on width of outline of letters (1/8”)

 

Over the years, appeals of ARB decisions on signs have involved the following issues, which are addressed in the proposed revised guidelines on the pages indicated.

 

Appeal Issue

Page in Proposed Revised Guidelines

Primary Change/Addition

Opaque background

6-7, 21,  23, 25, 28

·         Add philosophy on illumination of signs

·         Indicate preference for external illumination

·         Add “internal illumination will be limited”

·         Provide definition of “opaque”

Use of graphics/logos

5, 13-15

·         Indicate that logos, graphics, and trademarks are subject to review; such elements may require modification; such elements, when used, must be incorporated as integral part of sign

·         Provide illustrations depicting appropriate/inappropriate scale and placement of logos/graphics as part of wall signs

Overall size

4, 9, 14-17, 28-29

·         Provide illustrations depicting appropriately/inappropriately scaled wall signs

·         Define basic design terminology, such as scale and proportion

Amount of internal illumination

6-7

·         Add philosophy on illumination of signs

·         Indicate preference for external illumination

·         Add “internal illumination will be limited”

 

Based on its experience over the years, including discussions with applicants and the finished character and appearance of installed signs, the ARB learned that particular aspects of sign design required additional focus in the guidelines. Consequently, the ARB has provided additional guidance on the following issues, which are addressed on the pages indicated.

 

Sign Design Issue

Page in Proposed Revised Guidelines

Primary Change/Addition

Color

5, 10-11

·         Indicate that color compatibility applies to both day and night appearance, and to both internal and externally illumination

·         Add “raceways shall match wall color”

·         Delete reference to specific color names/numbers for “jarring” combinations

·         Provide illustrations depicting appropriate use of multiple colors for wall signs

 

Coordination of signs in multiple business centers

24-25

·         Add philosophy and policy on coordination of wall signs in multiple business centers

·         Indicate limitations regarding color, font, sign type, placement

Window signs

19

·         Indicate that signs within 3’ of window or storefront are reviewed by the ARB

·         Indicate that window signs shall not exceed 9 square feet

·         Indicate that window signs must be in proportion to the window and storefront

·         Indicate that two 12” x 18” signs that maintain the transparency of the window are exempt from ARB review

·         Indicate that illumination of window signs is discouraged

Proportion and placement of wall signs

4-5, 8-17

·         Indicate that the design of a building influences appropriate sign design

·         Provide illustrations depicting appropriate scale and location of wall signs

Explanation of basic design concepts

8-17, 28-29

·         Provide definitions of basic design concepts for applicants without design background or experience

·         Provide illustrations to help clarify meaning of basic design concepts considered during sign review, such as scale and  proportion

 

Finally, the proposed revised guidelines incorporate photographs (many of ARB-approved signs) to further clarify concepts discussed throughout the guidelines. The update has been formatted to be made available both on-line and as a color, hard-copy document. Although it is intended to be made available as a stand-alone document, it is considered part of the overall ARB Design Guidelines. To maintain coordination among documents, the guidelines for fuel pump canopies in the ARB Design Guidelines must also be updated to correspond to the revised sign guidelines. See Attachment E for the proposed change (guideline #4).

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

The revised guidelines and summary are provided for information and discussion.  A public hearing will be scheduled following the Board’s work session.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

Attachment A: Specific Guidelines for Signs from the 1990 ARB Design Guidelines

Attachment B: 1998 Sign Guideline Revisions

Attachment C:  Public Comments

Attachment D:  ARB Draft Revised Sign Guidelines

Attachment E:  ARB Guidelines for Fuel Pump Canopies

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